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The Dramatic Works of John Dryden, Volume 1 With a Life of the Author   By: (1771-1832)

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In "The Dramatic Works of John Dryden, Volume 1 With a Life of the Author," Walter Scott delves into the extensive collection of plays by the renowned English poet and playwright, John Dryden. Scott's comprehensive introduction provides valuable insights into the life and career of Dryden, setting the stage for a deep exploration of his dramatic works.

Scott's research is evident throughout the book, as he meticulously analyzes each play, shedding light on Dryden's artistic evolution and his contributions to the English theater. By providing historical context and highlighting significant themes, Scott allows readers to appreciate the plays not only as pieces of literature but also as cultural artifacts of their time.

One of the most impressive aspects of Scott's critique is his ability to combine scholarly analysis with a captivating writing style. He brings to life the world of Restoration drama, immersing the reader in the vibrant and often scandalous theatrical scene of the period. Scott's passion for his subject matter is palpable, and he seamlessly weaves together historical facts, biographical details, and literary criticism, making the book both informative and engaging.

Another strength of this volume is its inclusion of multiple works by Dryden. By presenting a variety of plays, including tragedies, comedies, and heroic dramas, Scott showcases the range and versatility of Dryden's writing. This diversity allows readers to appreciate Dryden's skill in crafting different dramatic styles, and to witness the evolution of his talent over time.

However, it is worth noting that the volume's focus on Dryden's plays means that Scott's analysis of his other works, such as poems or essays, is limited. This might disappoint readers looking for a more comprehensive examination of Dryden's entire body of work. Additionally, the book assumes a certain level of familiarity with Restoration theater and Dryden's era, which could make it less accessible to casual readers.

Overall, "The Dramatic Works of John Dryden, Volume 1 With a Life of the Author" offers a thorough and captivating exploration of Dryden's plays. Walter Scott's extensive knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for the subject shine through, making it an invaluable resource for scholars, theater enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the rich literary landscape of the Restoration period.

First Page:

THE

DRAMATIC WORKS

OF

JOHN DRYDEN

WITH A

LIFE OF THE AUTHOR

BY

SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.

EDITED BY GEORGE SAINTSBURY

VOL. I.

EDINBURGH: WILLIAM PATERSON

1882

[Illustration: M' John Dryden. ]

THE DRAMATIC WORKS

OF

JOHN DRYDEN

EDITOR'S PREFACE.

The best edited book in the English language is, according to Southey, Wilkin's edition of Sir Thomas Browne. If Sir Walter Scott's "Dryden" cannot challenge this highest position, it certainly deserves the credit of being one of the best edited books on a great scale in English, save in one particular, the revision of the text. In reading it long ago, with no other object than to make acquaintance with Dryden; again, more recently and more minutely, for the purpose of a course of lectures which I was asked to deliver at the Royal Institution; and again, more recently and more minutely still, for the purposes of a monograph on the same subject in Mr. Morley's series of English Men of Letters , I have had tolerably ample opportunities of recognising its merits. It was therefore with pleasure that I found, on being consulted by the publisher of these volumes as to a re issue of it, that Mr. Paterson was as averse as I was myself to any attempt to efface or to mutilate Scott's work. Neither the number, the order, nor the contents of Scott's eighteen volumes will be altered in any way... Continue reading book >>




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